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How PR Can Attract Investors and Add Value to Your Startup If you're looking to get your startup funded, here's how to use PR to attract investors.

By Katerina Antonova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Individual venture capital companies receive more than 1,000 proposals a year and are primarily interested in businesses that require an investment of at least $250,000, as stated in Embroker. However, according to the same source, only 1% of startups turn out to be the next Uber, Airbnb, Slack or Stripe. That is why it is tough to get a VCs' attention. But PR can significantly increase your chances of getting funded, and here's how.

PR helps you show off your expertise

Founding a startup doesn't make you an expert in your field. If nobody knows about your expertise, investors might see you as an outsider. Investing in PR, you are investing in building a portfolio of your public opinions, mentions and columns in the outlets that matter in a startup scene.

Being a guest on a podcast talking about the future of your industry, authoring an opinion column or giving a quote on product innovation will help you build your credibility. Publications don't publish articles from authors that have nothing useful to say to their readers, and journalists don't ask for quotes from random people.

Every word you say in the press is your chance for investors to notice you, and see you as an expert who explores daring innovations and has the knowledge and courage to create a fast-growing, successful company.

When the investor's FOMO kicks in, PR is gold

While you still have to be working on your concept, business plan, MVP and risk management, PR has to be your "significant other" if you are looking for funds. Every investor's FOMO is to miss an opportunity of catching another unicorn. VCs are constantly looking for the best deals — they open TechCrunch, VentureBeat and Crunchbase every morning to find another potential multi-billion dollar company.

This is why you have to create hype air around your startup using PR:

  • Get articles about your startup published in publications

  • Work on different formats to reveal the best angles of your business (ex. articles, mentions, interviews or commentaries)

  • Focus on what problems your startup solves, and why the world needs it

  • Make it a big deal, give bold statements and provocative quotes to create a buzz around your company.

Related: What Van Halen Can Teach You About Public Relations

PR sells you and your vision to investors

Your early-stage startup data undoubtedly contributes to investors' decision-making. However, at the beginning of your startup journey, you sell yourself and your vision and not the product yet. Therefore, you have to make sure you are telling your story right, and take your name out in the right publications. Remember that PR is not all press releases and interviews. Secure placements in online media, but grab more innovative opportunities as well, such as:

  • Clubhouse appearances where game changers in your industry hang out

  • Reddit "Ask Me Anything" sessions, where you can participate as an expert and authority on a subject that matters in your field

  • Product Hunt launch campaigns

  • Twitter and LinkedIn chats, where you can create a buzz around your persona as an expert

  • Alexa Flash Briefings

PR helps you stand out

Competition is fierce for venture capital, and budgets are tight. You may have a service or product that is innovative and so needed for your potential customers. But if investors never heard of you, it can be almost impossible to prove that your startup is worth investing in, especially if your market is already crowded. What are the odds of you standing out?

This is another reason to be active in the press and on socials to get the funds. Seeing you in every major tech publication and on social platforms is a form of proof that you are worth their money and time.

Differentiate your brand and yourself from other startups by strong PR appearances and get the money you need for your company faster.

Related: How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence in Public Relations

PR adds value to your company

PR helps you and your business become known for all the great things you and your team do. It increases visibility and raises your company's profile — everyone wants to use the products and services of the go-to company with a good reputation. Engaging your customers with case studies can build trust and a positive attitude towards your brand. PR drives demand among your customers and helps you build strong relationships with VCs. Therefore, it attracts investments and pushes your business towards new goals, metrics and success.

Related: Is Your Brand Ready for Public Relations and Press?

Katerina Antonova helps tech startups and VC firms increase exposure and develop brand awareness. She has over 10 years of expertise in PR and strategic communications and has helped a number of companies with growth, sales and fundraising. She is a PRSA and GWPR member.

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